Arsenal have a chance to spend the night as the new Premier League leaders and that should serve as enough incentive for the Gunners to try and extend the excellent run of results. And while their opponents Everton are unbeaten on the road this term, last week’s 3-0 loss to Manchester United will have served as a major blow to confidence.
Having watched Arsenal outclass some of world’s best sides over the last few weeks, one cannot help but wonder why don’t they play like this more often. There were some mitigating circumstances to explain some under-par displays during the early exchanges, with Alexis Sanchez’s fitness struggles well documented, but the reality is that the Gunners did not always have the right mental approach, as witnessed by Champions League defeats to minnows Dinamo Zagreb and Greek giants Olympiakos, who are hardly world beaters. The most important thing is that Arsenal successfully returned to the right track before it was too late, and while the sheer quality of their players shone in comfortable wins over Leicester City and Watford, the Gunners showed a great deal of character to also beat Manchester United and Bayern Munich, keeping two more clean sheets in the process. Taking everything into account, Arsenal shouldn’t have too many problems against Everton this weekend, despite the fact that Alexis Sanchez is again in desperate need of rest. With the League Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday next, chances are the Chilean will start against the Toffees and then get well-deserved rest on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey and David Ospina and set for month-long spells on the sidelines, whereas Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky are unlikely to return before the New Year.
Having finished the previous campaign in the bottom half of the Premier League standings and also failed to attract any big-name signings in the summer, Everton looked destined for yet another disappointing season. But, despite also having some important players missing, the Toffees enjoyed a promising start to the new campaign, with 3-1 victory over Chelsea serving as a major confidence boost. Nevertheless, Roberto Martinez’s charges appear to have suffered a dip in form, failing to impress in the Merseyside derby before suffering a disappointing 3-0 home loss to Manchester United. Looking at their recent performances, it is not too difficult to see where the problems lie, with Romelu Lukaku often left isolated up front and revived Ross Barkley receiving plenty of attention from opposition players. The reality is that the likes of Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines have been sorely missed, even if youngsters Ty Browning and Brendan Galloway have done fairly well in their absence. Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez has been constantly rotating his wingers in an attempt to find his strongest line-up, but apart from showcasing their skills on rare occasions, none of them has done enough to become an undisputed starter. The visitors now head to the Emirates low on confidence and with worries over the fitness of Tom Cleverley.
Arsenal are playing their best football in months and they simply look unstoppable at the moment, so no doubt the Gunners will attempt to take advantage of the bad moment Everton are in and score a couple of goals as early as possible. We do believe they will succeed in their quest and are, therefore, backing the home side for a half-time/full-time win.
Best Odds: 19/20